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An Inside Job

Three months ago, the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA), the body charged with building infrastructure for the event, chose a group known as CLM to become its “delivery partner”, helping oversee the enormous project.

CLM consists of the American consultant CH2M Hill, the British-based construction group Laing O’Rourke and the project manager Mace. It was picked after a long selection process that started in May with a short list of four. Now, it has emerged that CLM’s Mace had people working within the ODA — while the bidding process was under way. None of the other consortiums had staff within the authority.

The four groups were judged not only on price, but also on their “cultural fit” with the ODA. In the selection process, the private-sector consortiums had to show the ODA that they could work well with the authority.

The three defeated groups refuse to criticise the selection process publicly. But members of two of the unsuccessful bidding consortiums have quietly voiced their concerns that Mace, as part of CLM, was given a vital insight into how the ODA worked and the thinking of key individuals in the authority. One said: “A large part of the selection process was about finding out whether the ODA could work with a delivery partner over a period of six years. CLM clearly had an advantage by having had people inside the organisation.”

A spokesperson for CLM said: “We created strong Chinese walls, including no contact between the two teams throughout the delivery-partner bid to ensure that there was absolutely no conflict of interest.”

The new row is only the latest controversy stirred up by the appointment of CLM. Laing O’Rourke, headed by the reclusive building magnate Ray O’Rourke, gave money to the campaign to bring the 2012 Olympics to London — the only construction company to do so. The company has refused to confirm the sum involved, although some have suggested that it was as much as £1m.

From: ‘Head start’ on 2012 bid , Ben Laurance and Jenny Davey, The Sunday Times, 26 11 06

More at: Inside Job

See also: O'Rourke

See also: Bechtel